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DOE Congestion Study Will Pinpoint Dozens of Grid 'Problem Areas'

A congestion study slated to be completed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) before the end of the summer will identify a "watch list" of perhaps 25 to 30 electric transmission "problem areas" and a smaller subset list of those areas "where transmission needs are so large and acute that it is in the national interest to seek near-term solutions," said Kevin Kolevar, director of the DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, last week.

"Accordingly, in the report on our congestion study, we expect to identify certain areas as electric transmission constraint areas," Kolevar said at the Platts Transmission Infrastructure Investment conference in Washington, DC.

Another DOE official in late March sought power sector feedback on the idea of the DOE pinpointing so-called electric transmission constraint areas in the U.S., which would flag transmission-related problems in the country.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) requires DOE to issue a national transmission congestion study by August 2006 and every three years thereafter. EPAct 2005 also provides for the designation of national interest electric transmission corridors for areas that are experiencing electric energy transmission capacity constraints or congestion that adversely affects consumers.

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